Can you please tell me what exactly Ford, GM, and now
Toyota have contributed to the Funny Car's successes?
Before you begin to rattle off a bunch of tripe, let
me go ahead and tell you:Nothing!
They have contributed absolutely nothing. Not one
frikken bolt on these cars was ever developed within their engineering
departments. On the other hand, they all run Chrysler power. And please do not
go down the road of ......"well these are specifically designed engines built by
Allan Johnson, Keith Black and so on". That won't hold water. The reason is,
when you go to any manufacturer's web site like Allan Johnson's, or any of the
other's who make heads and blocks, they all refer to them as Chrysler Hemis. So
in what capacity does the word "effort" (quoting you) does this apply? Other
than writing a check that is.
I find it odd that the Ford, GM, and Toyota cars can
get away with using "Chrysler" power, but the same engine was outlawed in Pro
Stock years ago....don't you? Why do the Ford's not use Ford engines, GM use GM
engines, and Toyota use Toyota engines? I'll bet you don't know the
I await your reply with eager
anticipation. - Scott Oliver, Nashville, Tenn.
Some years back a highly respected journalist
offered the opinion that “John Force never ‘sold” a single Oldsmobile, a single
Pontiac or a single Ford.’I disagreed with that
statement then, and continue to disagree with it now.
There’s no statistical “proof” either way about a
racer’s ability to “sell” a car, BUT, if the auto manufacturers didn’t believe
there was value in promoting their cars through Funny Car racing they wouldn’t
be involved.Of course, the closer one of
those race cars appears to the “real thing,” the better it is for the
Funny Cars are all about image, and very little
about beneath-their-skins technology, so let’s stick with that outside
On the contrary, there’s been significant factory
involvement in the development of successful Mustang, Charger and Monte Carlo
shells, and, one assumes, Toyota also played some role in the development of the
body that bears their name.We know for sure that some
early development shells of today’s cars were rejected as “not good enough” by
the factories, so if they played no role in their coming to the track, why would
they have even cared?
In an era where name-badging an engine is
tantamount to having a “real” engine in competition, we’re wondering where
you’re coming from.Everyone knows that engines
developed by, say, Cosworth Engineering have, from time to time, been called
everything from Fords to Chevrolets.Even though the cognoscenti know these engines have
absolutely no relation to showroom powerplants, to the general public there’s a
real Ford out there racing a real Chevrolet, and if that satisfies them and
keeps them interested, so what?
Decades ago the infamous Manufacturers Meet at the
late, lamented Orange County International Raceway used to divide their Funny
Car teams into distinctly Chevy, Ford, Dodge and Plymouth
groupings.That worked fine as long as
“real” engines were being used in those cars.However, when the aftermarket began producing
blocks and heads that were so obviously better than the OEM-blessed parts, team
makeup became a beauty contest only, i.e., if it looked a Chevy, it was on the
Chevy team regardless of what was under the body.
While today’s aftermarket engine parts
manufacturers often refer to their products as Hemis – for that’s what they are
– we can’t recall a single instance in years in which these engines have been
referred to as “Chryslers.”They are decidedly NOT
Chrysler Hemis, but only derivatives of the original OEM design.
If you’re truly the purest you profess to be, don’t
watch Pro Stock or, heaven forbid, Funny Car, where aftermarket engines are the
rule, not the exception.If you want to see
Ford-powered Fords and Chevy-powered Chevrolets, stick to Stock eliminator and
the like, where the “real thing” is still under the hood.
For the rest of us, those hooked on the excitement
of the two aforementioned categories, we’ll continue to pull for our favorite
kind of car out there, regardless of what’s under the hood, or under the body. – Jon Asher
The run order change is an excellent idea, and it's already been shown to work.
IHRA's Pro categories start from the slowest E.T.'s to the quickest (Pro Stock,
Alky FC, Pro Mod, N/FC, TF). They don't need to "start out with a bang". The
crescendo works great.
And yes, the "Not Invented Here" syndrome is
evident in many places.
Interestingly, IHRA' Saturday qualifying show is
a huge draw, but NHRA's qualifying TV coverage lags? It's likely because 1)
Qualifying is better in person and 2) TV coverage doesn't have to show the
entire event in real time. It's just too long. Use ten minutes of that time to
show some Sportsman racing.
Announcers control the crowd. I've seen IHRA
events where the stands vacated after Fuel cars, and I've seen people stay
planted even throughout Sportsman categories. It's up to the announcer to
entertain, inform, and 'suggest' to the crowd. If you tell them the Fuel cars
are done so go get a hot dog, they will. When the announcing strategy was
changed to offer the options of visiting the concession stands or pits, "but
coming up next are wheelstanding factory muscle cars... Stay tuned for Accel
DFI Super Stock!". - Michael Beard
You are so right with your comments especially about middle management in
corporate America. I'm a Production Manager for a company that was bought by a
large corporation, they changed our simple money making practices into an
accountable nightmare when simple common sense has worked for years. One more
thing that should be added to the Pro ranks is the class of Pro Mods, they could
be put right in the middle with the Pro Stock cars and bikes. That I believe
would keep all in the stands watching the action, but as always NHRA only looks
out the small windows instead of taking in the big picture. Also your need web
format is great, thanks for the good work. - Dan Myers
I just read your article and I continue to wonder why the Glendora suits don't
at least consider paying more attention to the sponsors. Having just hired a
lady to do just that, she will be at least a year in getting feed
back....another year in getting somebody to listen, another year of losing
another sponsor to NASCAR or another series where their ROI is better because
nobody listened, another year looking for her replacement because the suits
didn't like what she was saying.....etc.
Keep the good stuff
coming. - John Blake
ASHER RESPONDS -
" I continue too wonder why the Glendora suits don't at least
condider paying more attention to the sponsors."
Your line. My
answer: They think they ARE paying attention to the
sponsors, so if they
think they're already doing a good job, why
would they change?
year there was a sponsor meeting during which a senior member of
marketing department outright lied to those in attendance. The
of it was they knew they were being lied to, which
resulted in an even more
negative attitude towards the organization,
but NHRA just didn't appear to
"get it."- Jon Asher
Jon has a good idea about doing something to enhance the Pro Stock Cars and
Motorcycles. Beginning eliminations on Saturday is a good start. How about going
a step further? Generally, there are thirty something cars and bikes at most
every race. Why not have a 32 unit field with the first round and maybe even the
second round on Saturday? Several of the pro stock folks have told me that there
are at least 24 or more that are competitive enough to win on Sunday, but with
just a little bobble or two, 8-10 go home. If a race does not have a required 32
field, cut back to 16 for that race. Lots of ways to be imaginative. Also, if
they would like to cut out the burndown stuff that sometimes takes place;
whomever has lane choice gets to decide who goes into the lights first. End of
controversy. Burndowns are not competition; they are just fodder for hard
feelings. If people want to see fights and shin kicking contests, go to your
local round track and see some of the demolition derbies that front as races.
They seem to have enough to go around. - Ted Smith
I like the idea a lot....run all the door cars on Saturday...I would still
get to see the fuelcars runs but could save some money by not
attending on Sunday....I go to the races to watch the Pro
Stockers not the
fuel cars....sounds good to me. - Jim Shadwick
They can do away with P/S bikes as they really do not interest me. When the H/D
types were added it was somewhat interesting, but not anymore. I think most of
the fans can only recognize a few of the riders. I would much rather see more
Comp and Super Stock run on Sunday ( Monday At Indy). - Greg Staley
There was a time, before corporate types ran drag racing sanctioning bodies...when
the eliminations of a entire event was run on Sunday. That included 32-car fuel
fields and all of the sportsman catagories start to finish. Non-stop action
starting at 8:00 AM. It wasn't that long ago. What I wouldn't give to have Steve
Gibbs back. Of course, if we were to adopt that policy again when would there
be time for the fans to stand in line to purchase those $7.00 beers or $12.00